Names of Victims in I-55 Crash Released

- Updated November 25, 2005 - 12:11 p.m. CST

Four friends traveling for holiday die on Missouri interstate

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Four friends traveling to Mississippi for a
Thanksgiving gathering are dead after their vehicle collided nearly
head-on with a tractor-trailer in southeastern Missouri.

The highway patrol say the sports utility vehicle crossed the
median on Interstate 55 and into the path of the semi-truck
Wednesday morning near Portageville.

The victims included the 52-year-old driver, Steven Branch, and
three passengers: 74-year-old Robert Thompson, 71-year-old Joseph
Downs, and 44-year-old Betty Wimpie -- all of Milwaukee.

A relative says the four were going to visit friends for the

The truck driver remained hospitalized yesterday after
sustaining serious injuries in the crash.

NOVEMBER 23, 2005 - Posted at 12:18 p.m. CST

PORTAGEVILLE, MO - K8 News has learned that a leg of Interstate-55 in southeast Missouri has been temporarily closed today due to a fatal accident that occured this morning along the busy roadway.

Four people were apparently killed in a two-vehicle accident this morning at approximately 10:30.  The interstate has been closed between the Portageville and Wardell exits.

No other details are available at this time.